I went walking up the hill one recent morning—part of my resolve to get more exercise, which I have not repeated to date—and was entranced by all the shades of green in the vegetation. The almost black noble fir rises next to the summer green Douglas fir, and the lighter shades of each on the new-growth tips unpredictably undulate in the breeze. Deciduous trees in various stages of seasonal green cover the landscape, and grey-green ghost trees fade into the fog.
The trees put me in mind of the shades of Mama’s perceptions, and the way she vacillates among them with seeming randomness.
- She can’t see to read the paper: Over dinner she retells in detail a letter to the editor she has read.
- She can’t understand the voice on her Talking Books tape player, and why do they call that a poem, anyway. She complains about a “poem” she listened to the night before, recounting the story that was “too morbid and went on and on and on.” (Apparently she listened to it on and on and on; she wanted to know how it ended.)
- Some voices on the [slowed down speed] tape player are so monotone she can’t stand to listen to them. Some voices are so dramatic she can’t stand to listen to them.
- She puts her hands over her ears and tells me I’m talking too loud. Later, at the same volume, she can’t hear me.
- It’s too bright to walk outside. One shade darker and it’s too dark to walk outside.
- Michelle has to be busy all the time, and it makes her anxious. Dan rests too much on her dime.
She messes with my mind, which I sometimes think I will lose within the hour. I think I am not much different.